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Business Unusual

S01E01 “Toasting the Ghost”

Story by ElectricFire 169

Teleplay by ElectricFire 169 & TheLoneClone (mebbe)

With assistance from JustJackBros, ThisIsMysterical, MaximumMangle132 & SydneyCat100 (others may follow)

Scene 1 Edit

Cabin in the Woods.

Opening shot panning into the cabin window.

Johnny: Hey, you. Isn’t this great?

Mary: It’s nice, yeah. How did you find out about this place?

Johnny: Oh, we used to come down here all the time for the Christmas holidays, the family I mean. Good times. We used to get up to some mischief… It was all good fun… Well, it seemed rather funny when the… ambulance arrived.

Mary: …You never spoke much about your family.

Johnny: No. No, I didn’t. They… Well… It was…

Mary: Hey, it’s okay.

Johnny: Yeah, I know… It’s just… well, y’know. Most of my family just… basically I was the black sheep of the family. Dad was never around. Mum just… looked down on everyone. Everyone else in the family seemed to have it served on a plate and I was the odd one out. I’ll bet anything they just sent me and Gavin to the US just to get rid of us.

Mary: You poor thing.

Johnny: Hmm, not so poor. After all, I met you, didn’t I?

Laugh

Mary: Of course, you always had Gregory, didn’t you?

Johnny: Gregory? He was just a friend.

Mary: So you keep saying, but you do seem to spend a lot of time with him.

Johnny: He’s my oldest friend and he needs someone to look after him. Besides, I made a promise.

Mary: I’m surprised you didn’t bring him here with you.

Johnny: Gregory isn’t my whole life y’know!

Mary: I’m just teasing, Johnny, there’s no need to take it all so seriously.

Johnny: Sorry, I guess I’ve had a bit to drink.

Mary: Johnny…

Johnny: Yes, I know.

Mary: You promised you’d cut down.

Johnny: But just one for the festive season!

Mary: I guess. But promise me you’ll try to stay dry this year, okay?

Johnny: It’s hard to deprive a man of his vices Mary, what do you propose?

Mary: Careful how you use that word, mister Maxwell.

Johnny: What? –Oh, I get it.

They laugh

Johnny: Which reminds me… There’s something I’ve got for you. A Christmas present.

Mary: Aw, Johnny.

Johnny: Hmmhmmhmm. Just close your eyes… Come on, it’s a surprise… Uh huh.

Mary: Come on Johnny, what is it?

Johnny: Almos… aaaaand… okay, you can open your eyes now.

Mary looks. Johnny is down on one knee holding a beautiful engagement ring.

Mary: …Johnny, I-

Johnny: Mary, will you marry me?

Mary: …Yes. Yes I will.

Johnny: Oh Mary! I love you!

Mary: I love you too Johnny!

Johnny: I-

*Johnny breaks wind loudly, groans and clutches his stomach*

Johnny: Oh, I really need to go. I’m sorry about this, I think that curry from earlier just caught up with me.

Mary: Spare me the details.

Johnny: I won’t be a minute.

Mary: No hurry. We have all the time in the world.

Mary notices the tape recorder on the table.

Mary: What’s that?

Johnny: It’s a tape recorder I found down in the cellar. Don’t know what it’s of, probably something a previous occupant left behind.

Mary: Looks old.

Johnny: Probably nothing, just thought it’s worth checking out.

Mary: I don’t know, it seems kind of… wrong. There’s something about it I can’t quite…

Johnny: Ah it’s probably nothing. We just got engaged, remember?

Mary: Maybe it is.

*Johnny farts again*

Johnny: Back in a mo!

Johnny disappears into the bathroom.

Mary: He’s probably gonna be in there all night reading “Modesty Blaise”.

Mary smiles to herself and goes back to her room.

2 HOURS LATER

The toilet flushes and Johnny comes out of the bathroom, clutching a copy of “Modesty Blaise”.

Johnny: *sighs* Aaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh. Now, that’s a relief.

He looks at the tape player on the table.

Johnny: Probably an old Pink Floyd album.

Mary is in the bedroom.

Johnny: Mary? Do you want a drink?

Mary (OOS): I don’t know, what do you think?

Johnny: Not think, drink!

Mary: Oh, right! Sorry, you’ll have to speak up a bit.

Johnny: Look, if you want to talk, why don’t you come in here and do it?

Mary: What?

Johnny: Never mind! Tea, coffee, milk or something stronger?

Mary: Do you have any hot choc?

Johnny looks for any hot chocolate sachets.

Johnny: Hot choc, hot choc… Nope, no hot choc.

Mary: I’ll have a tea.

Johnny: You got it. Two teas, comin’ right up!

Johnny starts preparing some tea. Whilst the kettle is boiling, Johnny sits down and clicks the play button on the tape recorder.

Taped Voice: Tantir-ah-mis-trobeen-ha-zar-ta. Tantir-man-ov-mis-hazen-sober.

In the darkness, something stirs…

In the bedroom, Mary looks up, uncomfortable. An unnatural chill seems to fill the room. The lights start to dim.

Taped Voice: Kandar!

Lightings strikes. A section of ground deep within the woods begins to crack, and opens. Smoke seeps out from within, as if some evil force was now being unleashed.

In the bedroom, Mary tries to light the candles. She looks in the mirror, but the reflection distorts horribly, throwing light across the room, giving the impression of everything coming to life.

Taped Voice: Kandar!

In the woods outside, something races towards the cabin…

Taped Voice: KANDAR!

There is the sound of smashing glass and a single scream.

Johnny turns around, stops the tape recorder and jumps up before running over to Mary’s bedroom door and knocking.

Johnny: Mary? Is everything alright?

After getting no response, he knocks again.

Johnny: Mary?

He breaks the door down and rushes in.

The window has been smashed from the outside, leaving glass shards scattered on the oak panelling. The whole room is in a state of disarray, and the hole in the wall lets in a cold blast of air, sending snow cascading into the room.

Johnny: MARY!

In a frenzy, Johnny grabs a torch and runs out of the house, completely forgetting his coat. He pauses, looking through the blackness for any sign of her, before running forward ten paces, shouting for her and collapsing in a heap on the ground, tears melting the thin blanket of snow covering the ground around him.

Johnny: I’ll find you. I promise…

From the shadows, a dark figure laughs maniacally…

Scene 2 Edit

2004

TOP-SECRET RESEARCH FACILITY

LOCATION: [REDACTED]

PURPOSE: [REDACTED]

PERSONNEL COUNT: [REDACTED]

SUBJECT COUNT: [REDACTED]

PRETTY TEDIOUS ISN’T IT?

CONSPIRATORS ALL HAVE THEIR HEADS UP THEIR [REDACTED]

The setting is a dark room with metallic walls and floor. A boy, roughly early to mid-teens, is lying on a table, dressed in white, surrounded by scientific equipment focused on his head and upper torso. A machine on the side shows his heartbeat and respiration, as well as a third, dormant line at the top. A man in a lab coat is monitoring the equipment. He briefly leaves the room to pour himself a coffee. The third line spikes. The scientist whirls round in horror as the cables detach and shoot off towards him. The boy seems disoriented for a moment but quickly comes round. At the same moment there are several other test subjects breaking out, all roughly the same age, some of whom help the boy out of his straps. They run down a corridor but turn a corner into some guards. They raise their hands- and the guards go flying.

6 hours later

Two agents standing outside a wrecked gatehouse on a road leading into a military-style compound. (The section is interspersed with shots of several test subjects breaking out, sending scientists and soldiers flying by some unknown means. As they do so, the third line spikes. They force-throw the scientist out and pull the boy out of the equipment. They seem to be having an argument with each other without talking. The escape continues. Explosions optional.)

Agent 1: Jesus.

Agent 2: Yep.

Agent 1: That’s… nasty.

Agent 2: Gonna take a while to fix.

Agent 1: How many got out?

Agent 2: All of ‘em.

Agent 1: All of ‘em?

Agent 2: Every single last one.

Agent 1: Goddamn. That’s gotta smart.

Agent 2: No doubt.

Agent 1: Trail still hot?

Agent 2: It’s coolin’ fast, skipper.

Agent 1: Well then, looks like we got some cattle to rustle, partner.

Agent 2: Oh god, don’t do the cowboy thing again.

Agent 1: I thought you liked the cowboy thing.

Agent 2: Have you any idea how embarrassing it is at parties? To this day I’ve never seen my mother eat a banana.

Agent 1: Alright, point taken. No cowpokery. Seriously though, we should probably, y’know… get after them. Before the paper jockeys arrive with their pens.

Agent 2: Man, I don’t want to be around when that pile hits the fan.

Agent 1: Damn straight. Let’s roll.

They exit.

Scene 3 Edit

January 2007

Scene showing Johnny taking a taxi from the airport around North Carolina, before being literally dumped in the middle of the street. He picks up as much of his bags as he can and leaves the rest on the street before walking up to a house.

Several weeks later. Edit

North Carolina

It’s cloudy and overcast. Johnny has been dropped off by Taxi and is looking for directions. He stops a passer-by.

Johnny: Excuse me? Sir?

American: Yeh? Wut can I do for you?

Johnny: Uh, well, I’m new around here, and I was wondering, could you give me directions to 113 Bowen Street?

American: Bowen Street? Ahm, ah that’s easy. Wut you do is you take the road East, the east going road-

Johnny: Uh huh.

American: -and ya keep going in that direction until you see the old church.

Johnny: Right, I’m with you.

American: And at the church you turn left and you’ll see a junction. Take the right turn at the junction, go straight on for a few hundred yards, you’ll see the sign for Bowen.

Johnny: Ah, got it, thanks.

American: Say, yer not British are yeh?

Johnny: *sigh* Yes, I am British.

American: Mmm-hmm, I thought I recognised the accent. So tell me, uh, wut was your name again?

Johnny: Uh, it’s Jon, sir.

American: Jon. I knew a guy name Jon once. Huh! So tell me Johnny-

Johnny: Do I know the Queen?

American: Why, yes? You’re not one of them psychics are yeh?

Johnny: *flashes eyebrows* Maybe.

American: So do you?

Johnny: Do I what?

American: Know the Queen?

Johnny: *sigh* (sarcastic) Yes, she’s my Grandmother.

American: Is that a fact?

Johnny: Ah, forget it! *leaves*

After a while, Johnny finds the address, and finds himself standing outside a large foreboding house with overgrowing shrubbery, an unkempt lawn and grass coming out of the cracks in the pavement leading to the door. There’s a second driveway leading underground. Johnny shudders and walks towards the entrance.

The number on the door says “113 Bowen St”.

Johnny knocks on the door and the door swings open. The inside looks dark and uninviting and the floor is grubby.

Johnny: Hello? Anybody… home? I’m uh… I’m here about the job?

After a moment’s consideration, Johnny tentatively steps inside and closes the door, making sure it doesn’t lock behind him.

The hallway is narrow and has dirty coloured walls. There is a staircase on the right leading upstairs and three doors: one under the staircase, one at the end of the hall and one on the left side. Johnny decides to go left.

He finds himself in a study room with cream walls and a large window. There is a cluttered desk, an empty bookcase and piles if books scattered around. There are several long cords plugged into sockets and trailing out of the room.

There is an explosion from the adjacent room and a startled cry. A man with a red shirt runs out.

Norberg: That’s it! No more, I quit! I’ve had it getting my butt blown up for your stupid crazy mad scientist stuff!

Johnny: ‘Scuse me uh, I’m looking for the professor?

Norberg: He’s in there. (beat) Who are you?

Johnny: Ah, Jon. I’m here about the job?

Norberg laughs quite hard.

Norberg: Ah ha. Ha! Hahahahahaha! (beat) You’re not gonna last five minutes.

Norberg walks out of the house. Johnny shrugs and enters the back room.

Most of the room is still shrouded in steam, but the crouched figure of Oz can clearly be seen operating on a machine, mumbling to himself.

Johnny: Professor? I’ve arrived.

Oz: Arrived? But you’ve always been here.

Johnny: What?

Oz moves to stand up and hits his head on the desk.

Oz: OOF!

Rubbing his head, he moves back and tries again, this time succeeding. He turns around and sees Johnny. Oz jumps back in surprise.

Oz: Whuh! I thought you were Norberg.

Johnny: No, I’m Jon. I’m here-

Oz: -For the interview, I know. I’ve been waiting for you.

Johnny: What?

Oz: (realization) Oh! Yes! I forgot! Right. Yes, okay. Uh, hello.

Johnny: …Hi.

Oz: So, uh, you’re the new, uh, intern, right?

Johnny: Ah, yes. Hmm. It’s a little untidy in here.

Oz: Yes, well. Thought we’d leave the mess until you got here. Heard you like messes.

There is an awkward silence as Oz tries to remember Johnny’s name.

Oz: Uh… Gerald!

Johnny: Johnny.

Oz: Johnny!

Johnny: Yes.

Oz: Well, uh, welcome aboard meboy!

Oz shakes his hand. A lot.

Oz: Right, yes. I’m Oz, as you’ll remember.

Johnny: Yes, I remember, we spoke not… *checks watch* Uh, six hours ago?

Oz: My god, is that the time already? I’ve been up all night, I’m starving. Come on, let’s go get something to eat and then we’ll talk about the work placement.

Oz leads him through the house.

Johnny notices a watermelon inside some hi-tech-looking machinery in one room.

Johnny: Why is there a watermelon in there?

Oz: I’ll tell you later.